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Aimee Mann & Bruno Mars Review

Indie songstress Aimee Mann visits the Sound Opinions studios.

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The end of year numbers are in, and the the music industry has something to celebrate. Sales increased by 3% in 2012, driven mostly by digital music. And, what was long suspected has now been confirmed: Adele has topped the charts two years in a row, making her the first artist in the SoundScan era to do this. 2012's other big winners? Taylor Swift, One Direction, Justin Bieber, and the only act in this year's top 10 to come close to "rock" - Mumford & Sons. At least Jim and Greg can take solace in the fact that vinyl sales were up yet again.

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Aimee Mann

This week Jim and Greg are joined by Aimee Mann. On her latest release Charmer, we get a series of character sketches all about charmers-from the charismatic to the completely narcissistic. As a veteran of the music biz, it's a topic about which we're sure Aimee knows a thing or three. But, she insists that the album isn't just an L.A. story. She does, however, pull in some impressive celebrities for the vidoes. Check out Jon Hamm and Jon Wurster in the Tom Scharpling-directed "Labrador," which is a shot-by-shot remake of Aimee's classic hit "Voices Carry." Then there's Laura Linney in the title track. Amy talks with Jim and Greg about spoofing herself, her affinity for comedians and her feelings about piracy. She also performs songs from the new album, as well as her Oscar-nominated tune "Save Me."

reviewUnorthodox JukeboxUnorthodox Jukebox available on iTunes

Bruno Mars Unorthodox Jukebox

Two years ago, Bruno Mars won Jim over with his infectious (and ubiquitous) "Lazy Song." Like its author,“The Lazy Song”was youthful and hard to dislike. Plus, who can resist Bruno's backstory? The pop phenom got his start at age four impersonating Elvis in his hometown of Honolulu before founding top-tier production team The Smeezingtons. Having crafted hits for the likes of Cee Lo Green and Travis McCoy, Bruno released a solo debut, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, in 2011. Late last year we got the follow up, Unorthodox Jukebox. Jim and Greg kick off their review by playing "Gorilla". It's“the stupidest song on the album”according to Greg, though there are some other contenders. Bruno's randy lyrics are nothing to write home about, but even on this record's stinkiest tracks, there are redeeming pop touches - a cool chord progression or a spot-on Prince falsetto. Jim agrees. Bruno Mars may be a lightweight, but his re-workings of Elton John, disco, and Sam Cooke are appealing and melodic. This is appropriation, but it's good appropriation. Unorthodox Jukebox gets a double Burn it.

JimGreg

Featured Songs

  1. Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know, Making Mirrors, Eleven, 2011
  2. Aimee Mann, Charmer, Charmer, SuperEgo, 2012
  3. 'Til Tuesday, Voices Carry, Voices Carry, Epic, 1985
  4. Aimee Mann,“Oh Sandy,”unreleased live performance, 2012
  5. Aimee Mann, Labrador, (Live on Sound Opinions), Charmer, SuperEgo, 2012
  6. Aimee Mann, That's Just What You Are, I'm With Stupid, Geffen, 1995
  7. Aimee Mann, How Am I Different?, Bachelor No. 2 or, the Last Remains of the Dodo, SuperEgo, 2000
  8. Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Jackie Blue, It'll Shine When It Shines, A&M, 1974
  9. Aimee Mann, Charmer, (Live on Sound Opinions), Charmer, SuperEgo, 2012
  10. Gilbert O'Sullivan, Alone Again (Naturally), Back to Front, MAM, 1972
  11. Aimee Mann, Save Me, (Live on Sound Opinions), Magnolia, Warner Brothers, 1999
  12. Aimee Mann, Nothing is Good Enough (Instrumental), Magnolia, Warner Brothers, 1999
  13. Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven, Unorthodox Jukebox, Atlantic, 2012
  14. Bruno Mars, Gorilla, Unorthodox Jukebox, Atlantic, 2012
  15. Bruno Mars, If I Knew, Unorthodox Jukebox, Atlantic, 2012
  16. Nosaj Thing, Snap, Home, Innovative Leisure, 2013
  17. Bob Dylan and the Band, Long Distance Operator, The Basement Tapes, Columbia, 1975
  18. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful Life, Facing Future, Mountain Apple, 1993
  19. My Bloody Valentine, Feed Me With Your Kiss, Isn't Anything, Creation, 1988
  20. The Smashing Pumpkins, Geek U.S.A., Siamese Dream, Virgin, 1993

Footnotes

billboard.com 2012 music sales report aimeemann.com Aimee Mann amazon.com Purchase Charmer vimeo.com“Labrador”video youtube.com“Voices Carry”video vimeo.com“Charmer”video tumblr.com Our top Aimee Mann moments brunomars.com Bruno Mars' website youtube.com“The Lazy Song”video thesmeezingtons.com The Smeezingtons' website youtube.com“Gorilla”video